« PreviousContinue »
were taken, fourteen others were destroyed, and Opdam the admiral, who engaged the Duke, was blown up beside him, with all his crew.
On the day before the battle, he is said to have composed the celebrated song, To all you Ladies now at land, with equal tranquillity of mind and promptitude of wit. Seldoin any splendid story is wholly true. I have heard from the late earl of Orrery, who was likely to have good hereditary intelligence, tbat Lord Buckhurst had been a week employed upon it; and only retouched or finished it on the memorable evening. But even this, whatever it may sub, tract from his facility, leaves him his courage.
He was soon after made a gentleman of the bedchamber, and sent on short embassies to France.
In 1674, the estate of his uncle James Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, came to him by its owner's death, and the title was conferred on him the year after., In 1677, he became, by the death of his father, Earl of Dorset, and inherited the estate of his family.
In 1684, having buried his first wife, of the family of Eagot, who left him no child, he married a daughter of the Earl of Northampton, celebrated both for beauty and understanding.
He received some favourable notice from King James; but soon found it necessary to oppose the violence of his innovations, and with some other Lords appeared in Westminster-hall to countenance the bishops at their trial.
As enormities grew every day less supportable, he found it necessary to concur in the Revolution. He was one of those Lords who sat every day in council to preserve the public peace, after the king's departure ; and, what is not the most illustrious action of his life, was employed to conduct the princess Anna to Nottingham with a guard, such as might alarm the populace, as they passed, with false apprehensions of her danger. Whatever end may be designed, there is always something despicable in a trick.
He became, as may be easily supposed, a favourite of King William, who the day after his accession, made him lord chamberlain of the house-hold, and gave him afterwards the garter. He happened to be among those that were tossed with the King in an open boat sixteen hours, in very rough and cold weather, on the coast of Holland. His health afterwards declined ; and on January 19, 1705-6, he died at Bath.
He was a man whose elegance and judgment were universally confessed, and whose bounty to the learned and witty was generally known. To the indulgent affection of the publick, Lord Rochester bore ample testimony in this Temark; I know not how it is, bui Lord Buckhurst may do what he will, yet is rever in the
wrong. If such a man attempted poetry, we cannot wonder that'his works were praised. Dryden, whom, if Prior tells truth, he distinguished by his beneficence, and who lavished his blandishments on those who are not known to have so well
deserved them, undertaking to produce authors of our own country superior to those of antiquity, says, I would instance your Lordship in satire, and Shak speare in tragedy. Would it be imagined that, of this rival to antiquity, all th satires were little personal invectives, and that his longest composition was ; song of eleven stanzas?
The blame, however, of this exaggered praise falls on the encomiast, ne upon the author ; w.hose performances are, what they pretend to be, the effu sions of a man of wit; gay, vigorous, and airy. His verses to Howard she great fertility of mind, and his Dorinda has been imitated by Pope.
S Τ Ε Ρ Ν Ε Υ.
, in Pembrokeshire, was born at Westminster in 1663. Of his father's condition or fortune we have no account. Having received the first part of his education at Westminster, where he passed six years in the College, he went at nineteen to Cambridge*, where he continued a friendship begun at school witba Mr. Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax. They came to London together, and are said to have been invited into publick life by the duke of Dorset.
His qualifications recommended him to many foreign employments, so that his time seems to have been spent in negociations. In 1692 he was sent envoy to the Elector of Brandenburgh'; in 1693 to the Imperial Court; in 1694 to the Elector of Saxony in 1696 to the Electors of Mentz and Cologne, and the Congress at Francfort ; in 1698ļa second time to Brandenburgh; in 1699 to the King of Poland; in 1701 again to the Emperor ; and in 1706 to the States General. In 1697 he was made one of the commissioners of trade. His life was busy, and not long. He died in 1707 ; and is bured in Westminster Abbey, with this epitaph, which Jacob transcribed :
H. S. E.
Linguae, Styli, ac Vice Elegantiam,
* He was entered of Trinity College, and took his Master's degree in 1689. H.
Sua ætate multum celebratus,
Plurimas Legationes obiit
Gulielmi & Anna
Haud raro superaverit.
On rhe Left Hand,
Electus in Collegium
Sancti Trinitatis Cantab. 1682.
Cura commissa est 1697. :
It is reported that the juvenile compositions of Stepney made grey authors blush. I know not whether his poems will appear such wonders to the present age. One cannot always easily find the reason for which the world has sometimes conspired to squander praise. It is not very unlikely that he wrote very early as well as he ever wrote ; and the performances of youth have many favourers, because the authors yet lay no claim to publick honours, and are therefore not considered as rivals by the distributors of fame.
He apparently professed himself a poet, and added his name to those of the other wits in the version of Juvenal; but he is a very licentious translator, and does not recompense' bis neglect of the author by beauties of his own. In his original poems, now and then, a happy line may perhaps be found, and now and then a short composition may give pleasure. But there is, in the whole, little either of the grace of wit, or the vigour of nature,
J. P H I L L P S.
TOHN PHILIPS was born on the 30th of December 1676, at Bampton
in Oxfordshire; of which place his father Dr. Stephen Philips, archdeacon of Salop, was minister. The first part of his education was domestick, after which he was sent to Winchester, where, as we are told by Dr. Sewel, his biographer, he was soon distinguished by the superiority of his exercises; end, what is less easily to be credited, so much endeared himself to his schoolfellows by his civility and good-nature, that they, without murmur or illwill, saw him indulged by the master with particular immunities. It is related, that when he was at school, he seldom mingled in play with the other boys, but retired to his chamber; where his sovereign pleasure was to sit, hour after hour, while his hair was combed by somebody, whose service he found means to procure*.
At school he became acquainted with the poets ancient and modern, and bxed his attention particularly on Milton.
lo 1694 he entered himself at Christ-church ; a college at that time in the highest reputation, by the transmission of Busby's scholars to the care first of Fell, and afterwards of Aldrich. Here he was distinguished as a genius eminent among the eminent, and for friendship particularly intimate with Mr. Smith, the author of Phaedra and Hippolytus. The profession which he intended to follow was that of Physick; and he took much delight in natural history, of which botany was his favourite part.
His reputation was confined to his friends and to the university ; till about 1708 he extended it to a wider circle by the Splendid Shilling, which struck the publick attention with a mode of writing new and unexpected.
Isaac Vossius relates that be also delighted in having his hair combed when he could have it dose by barbers or other persons skilled in the rules of prosody. Of the passage that contains this ridiculous farcy, the following is a translation : " Many people take delight in the rubbing of their limbs, and the " combing of their hair, but these exercises would delight much more, if the servants at the baths, and " of the barbers, were so skilful in this art, that they could express any measures with their fingers. I remember that more than once I have fallen into the hands of men of this sort, who could imitate any
nearu te of songs in combing the hair, so as sometimes to express very intelligible lambics, Trochees,
Dacryls, &c. from whence there arose to me no small delight.”. See his Treatise De Puernacum cantu k visibus Rythmi, Oxon. 1673. p. 62. H.